I was planning on a 35ish mile ride and had just turned around to head back home. I was down near Mount Vernon where the trail is relatively hilly and the path is pretty curvy. I'm already nervous about downhills and the curvy narrow downhills make me extra nervous. I'm not sure if this contributed to my wipeout, but I'm sure it's possible. The paths were also still pretty wet from the rain the night before because there are a ton of trees that block the sun. I headed down one of the hills and was trying to avoid riding on my brakes, but was pumping them to keep myself from going to fast. I came around a curve and my wheel went out from under me and I went skidding across the trail. I'm not sure if I just took the curve at the wrong angle or hit an extra slick patch, but I had no time to think before I was on the ground. I do know that even if I hadn't been clipped in there would have been nothing I could do to stop it. My elbow took the brunt on the fall and was really cut up. I quickly determined that nothing appeared to be broken, but I had a lot of cuts and bruises. I was really shaken up and wasn't sure I could make it the 15+ miles home. I walked my bike back up the hill because I knew there was an open grassy area where I could sit down and I was pretty shaky on that short walk. I ended up calling my mother who said she could come and get me. Once I had been sitting for a few minutes I felt much better and we decided to meet closer to Old Town because it would be easier for her to pull off the GW Parkway and because it was probably going to take her at least 30 minutes to get to me (so I might as well head back towards her). I managed to put my chain back on and rode the 4-5 miles to meet her. Once I started riding again, I realized that I wasn't all that bad off (and probably could have made it all the way home), but I was still glad for the ride.
I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed by the response of other cyclists and runners. When I still extricating myself from my bike and accessing the damage, a guy rode by up the hill and didn't even slow down. While I don't know how much help I really needed, it certainly would have been nice for him to at least check! Multiple people went by when I was sitting by the side of the path in the grassy area, but I was on the phone, so I think it's more understandable that they kept going (though I think I still looked bloody!). It was not until I walked my bike back down the hill (I knew I could get back on, but I wasn't about to do that hill again) that an older guy stopped and asked if I was okay. At first when I said I had wiped out he kind of laughed and said "yeah, it's slick out here, I've gone down least twice today," but when he noticed I was pretty shaken up he stayed and made sure that I had my chain back on and was back on my bike before he rode off.
When I got home and got in the shower, I noticed my clothing had covered road rash on my shoulder and thigh and the back of my hand (ripped my gloves, unfortunately) on my right side. I also had significant bruises the inside of my right knee and left shin (both of which I assume slammed into the bike). My poor Garmin also took a bit of a beating, but fortunately still appears to be working fine!
a little blurry, but you can see the buttons are scratched up
I am feeling a lot better today, though the big cuts on my elbow are early on in the healing process (and the whole area is still swollen) and my shoulder is sore when I lift my arm. I did learn that apparently I am not one to get big colorful bruises. The "bruised" areas on my legs hurt when I touch them, but are not noticeable when I look at them.
I know that I am very lucky that this wasn't more serious and I would bet a lot of you have been through a lot worse. I'm not sure exactly when I will get back on my bike, but I know I shouldn't wait too long or I'll start playing too many mental games with myself. It certainly seems like I will have more mental repercussions from this fall than physical ones.